Ingapirca, one of my favorite spots and the highlight of my Ecuador trip in December. In Kichwa, Inka Pirka means „Inca wall”, which is located in Cañar Province,, and the name of the older Inca ruins and archeological site nearby. This is Ecuador’s version of a mini Machu Picchu, and the largest known Inca ruins in Ecuador. The most significant building is the Temple of the Sun, an elliptically shaped building constructed around a large rock.
The native Cañari were present at Ingapirca (and Cuenca) before the Incas. The Cañari worshipped the moon and maintained a matriarchal society. Their construction is characterized by round lines. The Incas, on the other hand, worshipped the sun, were patriarchal, and built-in rectangular designs. Buried in one of the sacred sites, they found a richly-adorned female ruler surrounded by a circle of servants buried alongside her in the fetal position.
The Incas could not conquer the Cañari so they actually allied with them, lived together and intermixed, and eventually overtook them – at least culturally – around 1470. Ingapirca’s ruins were uncovered under a farm, where only the sun temple had previously been exposed. Archeologists worked on the site around the 1970s.
It estimated that about 80 people lived within Ingapirca, primarily people of religious and political importance. In the surrounding areas were another couple thousand inhabitants. The famous Incan stacked stones without mortar are only found in their most sacred spaces. Ingapirca is the site of the only Incan temple that exists in an oval shape, which is due to the strength of the Cañari and their style of architecture.
How do I get to Ingapirca?
The best and the easiest way to visit Ingapirca is by a private tour from Cuenca or Cañar. The tour lasts approximately 2 and a half hours.
Is Ingapirca worth visiting?
If you haven’t had a chance to see more of the Andes, you will really enjoy the views of the valleys and the villages out your window. Ingapirca ruins are the largest archeological Inca complex in Ecuador. If you love history, archeology and to discover more about the Cañari and Inca history, it is really worth to visit this site if you plan on traveling to this part of the country.
What to wear when visiting the Ingapirca?
Perched on a breezy hill commanding fine views over the surrounding countryside, Incapirca is located in the southern Andes at an altitude of over 3,100 metres. The weather changes every minute, from sunny, to rain, foggy to windy— so bring warm clothes, good shoes, but also something lighter if it gets warmer.
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All photos (c) Disi Couture
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